Factbox-Iraq’s Competing Shi’ite Groups

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Shi’ite Muslim political and paramilitary teams are escalating a tense political standoff which many Iraqis fear may result in new battle within the nation.

Iraq’s longest post-election political impasse has given strategy to demonstrations on either side of a Shi’ite divide, led by the mercurial cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on one aspect and a group of largely Iran-aligned teams on the opposite, recognized collectively because the Coordination Framework.

These are the primary gamers:


Sadr led an armed insurgency in opposition to the U.S. occupation of Iraq after American and worldwide troops toppled Sunni Muslim dictator Saddam Hussein. He inherited a mass following of largely impoverished Shi’ites from his cleric father who opposed Saddam and was killed for it.

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Sadr opposes all overseas interference, particularly from Iran, and accuses his Shi’ite rivals of corruption. Along with his tens of millions of followers, he has a thousands-strong militia and wields monumental energy throughout the Iraqi state, the place his loyalists management cash and energy.

Sadr’s big variety of supporters allow him to behave as a spoiler in Iraq’s politics. Supporters of Sadr erected tents and ready for an open-ended sit-in at Iraq’s parliament on Sunday, fueling instability.


A former prime minister and chief of the Dawa celebration which dominated successive Iraqi governments after 2003. Maliki has shut ties with Iran, which supported Dawa’s opposition to Saddam throughout the Eighties Iran-Iraq warfare. He has hyperlinks with armed militias, deep state energy and is Sadr’s fiercest opponent.

Chief of the Badr Organisation, which began as a Shi’ite paramilitary group supported by Iran within the Eighties. Badr makes up an enormous a part of the Standard Mobilisation Forces, the closely armed Iraqi state paramilitary group that comprises dozens of Iran-backed factions. Amiri is a key chief within the Coordination Framework.

The previous rebel who fought as a part of Sadr’s Mehdi Military in opposition to U.S. troops cut up off to type his personal militia, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, which grew to become a military-political group and holds a lot of seats in parliament. Khazali’s group is closely armed and actively concerned in social media teams which distribute the messaging of Iran-backed paramilitary factions.


Two reasonable Shi’ite politicians who’re a part of the Coordination Framework however don’t brazenly help any specific armed factions. Hakim is a cleric whose uncle Ahmed Baqir al-Hakim led the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a celebration based in Iran that ran Iraq’s inside ministry after the U.S. invasion.

Abadi, a former prime minister, is a senior chief within the Dawa celebration who led Iraq to its defeat of the Sunni extremist Islamic State group in 2017.

This paramilitary group is likely one of the elite factions closest to Iran. It fielded a political celebration for the primary time in elections final yr, and received a number of seats in parliament. It’s extensively accused of being behind many assaults on U.S. navy and diplomatic targets in Iraq, however doesn’t brazenly affirm or deny involvement.

It has no publicly introduced management construction, however its senior member Abdul Aziz al-Mohammedawi is navy chief of the PMF.

Different closely armed militia embrace Amiri’s Badr Organisation, Khazali’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Sadr’s Peace Brigades, and a lot of different teams largely aligned with Iran.

(Reporting by John Davison; Enhancing by Bernadette Baum)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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